Or is it all just Clash anyway? Either way, this crowd-pleasing film follows the backstory of Clash, who began a fan and ended up more than fulfilling his dreams of joining the legacy of Jim Henson, while also looking into the lasting phenomenon of Elmo's popularity with children.
Documentarian Nick Broomfield solicits controversy -- some feel he relies on uncredible sources and inserts too much of himself into films, while others find his confrontational style a refreshing strategy to extract honest interviews. In his treatment of hip-hop's biggest feud, Broomfield frequently skirts the line between cold, hard facts and nutty conspiracy theories, which is itself revealing in the case of two murders that, despite the media scrutiny and a multitude of witnesses, remain unsolved.
The troubling story of Tilikum touched a nerve with the public, and led to a real-world impact on SeaWorld's bottom line.
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Five years after its release, it continues to be a relevant examination of human interference in nature, and our species' steadfast dedication to financial gain. We're only given a glimpse through an ensemble of people whose lives have been forever altered by the larger horrors wrecked by less-than-substantially tested -- and in some cases, failed and put to market anyway -- devices used for surgeries, for keeping our limbs together, and every literal crevice of our bodies in between.
Certainly it owes something to the classic doc The Atomic Cafe , yet this compilation film is hardly so funny. Hedy Lamarr, described as "the most beautiful woman in the world," has a great legacy that's been largely scrubbed from the influx of retellings about her life beyond the reductive interpretation of an Old Hollywood actress notorious for running around naked and performing an orgasm in a movie.
As Bombshell works to make apparent in this biographical doc, she was also a brilliant inventor whose radio technology still serves as the basis of cell phones, bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and encryption tools. Before breaking out with their more famous courtroom documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills , Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky made another true crime film about four elderly brothers, one of whom may have been murdered by another.
One of the most original and clever documentaries of , Casting JonBenet is also one of the hardest to just sit back and enjoy. Using the unsolved murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey as a foundation, the film finds amateur actors, all local to the town where the tragedy took place, auditioning for parts in a dramatization of the story.
The result is more disturbing than expected, though more fascinating in its exploration of the legacy of the mystery and others like it. When it comes to true-crime films, the facts almost always trump the storytelling.
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This is a major exception, one that should have you discussing much more than the cold case in question. The crew behind this disturbing, yet beautiful, documentary literally had to invent their own equipment to showcase the phenomenon of coral bleaching, which causes coral to die as a result of warming ocean waters. It's not easy making time-lapse shots of unmoving objects compelling, but Chasing Coral does just that, leaving you in awe of humankind's dual capacity for invention and destruction. The first season of Chef's Table featured six distinct episodes, each profiling one of the world's most ambitious chefs, like Dan Barber, Massimo Bottura, and Niki Nakayama.
The cinematography is gorgeous, the narration is tight, and it never loses the viewer's interest or focus, even when diving into mundane topics. It's an incredible gift that director Jim Alpert has been visiting and filming Cuba for almost half a century, documenting an island that's undergone seismic cultural changes while also, thanks to embargoes and other restrictions, remaining partially stuck in time. The resulting footage is a rich portrait of history in the making, with Alpert creating his own version of the island nation, its residents, and its iconic leader, Fidel Castro, whose death provides a backdrop to the story of a culture on the brink of change.
Evil Genius is the kind of story that would only work as airport fiction had it not actually happened. In four tightly wound minute episodes, the story of Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong and her twisted, murderous ways are recounted via FBI investigators; local police in Erie, Pennsylvania where the crimes took place ; journalists; and the friends and family of those involved. Be warned, though -- the show will likely leave you with more questions than answers. It's a man, Nick Yarris, sitting against a black background, talking about his life of petty crime.
But this one-man show follows its twists and turns down the rabbit hole of Yarris' life story; he's a functionally illiterate man who ends up giving himself a complete education while he sits on death row. It's painful, funny, and above all, surprising despite its lack of frills, challenging and engaging you with every anecdote told by a charismatic Yarris.
You'll revise your feelings about what's happening at least 13 times before the film ends. Adapted from Mark Harris's comprehensive book of the same name, this film -- chopped into three episodes for maximum binge-iness -- explores the lives of five Hollywood directors who exited the emerging Hollywood scene to aid their country during World War II. After embedding us in an ER with his last film, director Peter Nicks now drops us into the Oakland Police Department for a two-year stretch as it continues to make improvements in conduct while under federal oversight.
We go on ride-alongs, sit in on police academy lectures about changes that need to be made to win the trust of the citizens, and we go outside the station and encounter those citizens during community meetings and protests. Instead, brutal reality keeps rearing its ugly head, in the forms of shootings and scandals as The Force becomes a Sisyphean tale about the struggle to overcome systemic problems. In April , the internet lost its mind when Fyre Festival , a would-be luxury music festival, literally blew up in its face.
Although the world watched on social media as the disastrous consequences of an ill-fated-from-the-start event unfolded, the full story of how the hell rich kids could go from glamping to eating sad, makeshift sandwiches never really made sense amid the media firestorm it became. It's a part hilarious, part disgusting examination of the obsession with perception that made Fyre such a disaster, and despite the controversy surrounding the doc's creation , it remains the better of two Fyre films to appear in the same week.
There is the Lady Gaga of then -- the meat dresses, the lobster hats -- and, as chronicled in this behind-the-scenes doc, the Gaga of now, a forceful, musical talent who's just as vulnerable as every other "little monster" on the planet. Gaga: Five Foot Two contextualizes the woman behind the belted anthems in everyday life, from seconds before her big Super Bowl halftime show to the doctor's office, where reality hits hard. The debate over which Beatle is "the best" will still rage on centuries from now, but hey, allow acclaimed director Martin Scorsese to pitch you on George. This three-hour-andminute doc explores every facet of Harrison's quirky personality, and makes the case that his cultural impact -- as an underrated Beatles songwriter, a vivid solo performer, a movie producer and the reason most of us Americans know Monty Python , and a pioneer in the realm of benefit concerts -- can't be denied.
Many political historians and social observers will spend the rest of their lives figuring out how Donald Trump became President of the United States. Republican political strategist Roger Stone, the subject of this quick-turnaround doc, knows the answer. It's grimy, provocative, and cutthroat. You won't like it.
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You will like this movie. The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling reflect fondly on their years in costume as the extravagantly campy, offensively exploitative-yet-feminist answer to the WWE that aired on TV for four years in the late '80s, and the abruptness which with their platform was stripped away. At some point early in Growing Up Coy , perhaps right at the start, you realize you're not watching an "issue film" about a transgender child. This is a family drama in which the family happens to be fighting the State of Colorado over their daughter's right to use the girls bathroom at her school.
Is she a trans child? Is the battle over civil rights for trans persons at play? But most of the film is focused on the story of a specific couple, their five kids, and their struggle with an unaccepting community. Any issue could be in play. The beauty is that it's also a powerfully empathic film for the cause of trans rights. Filmmaker Will Allen was a member of the Buddhafield cult for more than 20 years, during which time he shot tons of home movies as well as some more official video projects for the group.
After he and other followers left in , he turned his footage into this fascinating documentary chronicling their experiences from the s on, until the point when a deep secret about their leader, the charismatic but mysterious Michel, comes out. Sex sells, but does it make for good documentary content?
Sources say: yes! Hot Girls Wanted isn't a vaguely shrouded stand-in for your casual sexytime viewing; it's a serious film going deep on the business of porn -- and many of its exploitative practices and unsettling consequences. The story of murdered jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan is recounted partly by his killer, who also happens to be his widow. More than 20 years following the incident, Helen Morgan, Lee's common-law wife, gave an audio interview about her life with the musician and how she came to shoot him dead at a packed club one stormy winter night.
Now, another two decades later, it serves as the centerpiece of a uniquely captivating music doc. Friends and fellow jazz musicians appear to fill in details in what might be the most pulpy biographical film ever, accentuated as it is with atmospheric archival footage of snow falling on New York City moodily scored by Morgan's own soulful recordings.
The filmmakers of this Oscar-winning documentary didn't set out to blow the lid off of Russia's illegal Olympics doping scandal, but that's the controversy they found themselves embroiled in once they start asking questions with the help of Russian scientist Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov and his "anti-doping" program. Every generation gets its own musical moment, a genre or subgenre that serves to completely bewilder the one that preceded it.
For today's youth, it's all about EDM and the few successful players who've become millionaires from the explosive popularity of DJs. I'll Sleep When I'm Dead follows Steve Aoki -- a man best known for throwing cakes onto the faces of his audience and being the son of the founder of Benihana -- on his rise to fame. It's surprisingly poignant, shedding strobe lights on the movement that dominates music today.
Drawing from John Grisham's only nonfiction work of the same name, The Innocent Man follows two mysterious murders that occurred in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma in the '80s. This gripping series documents the early conviction and exoneration of former suspects, as well as the fate of two other suspects later discovered who maintain their innocence to this day while they remain behind bars.
In the vein of other hit true-crime series, this Netflix original knows how to hook the audience by slowly unraveling details and alternate case theories. In , Jerry Seinfeld had wrapped up his eponymous hit sitcom, and Orny Adams was a year-old standup working the circuit. One of them is supremely confident in his abilities, and the other is nervous, uncertain, and self-conscious.
Adams is the confident one, and, well, we have the advantage of knowing how his career turned out. It's a fascinating character study that shows the exacting precision required to make comedy work, without lapsing into the comic hagiography so present in contemporary culture. It's also one of the most cringeworthy displays of hubris you'll see onscreen, and each passing year of Adams' modest career adds another shudder.